Cheers and Look Who’s Talking actress Kirstie Alley dies aged 71 | Film

Kirstie Alley, the TV and film star known for her roles in Cheers, Veronica’s Closet and Look Who’s Talking, has died aged 71.

Alley’s death was confirmed Monday night in a statement from her children, William “True” Stevenson and Lillie Price Stevenson, posted on her social media account. Her manager also confirmed her death separately.

Alley had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was being treated at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, her family revealed.

“To all our friends, far and wide around the world … We are saddened to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” the statement read. “She was surrounded by her immediate family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a sense of her endless zest for life and what adventures lay ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”

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— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) December 6, 2022

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“We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at Moffitt Cancer Center for their care. Our mother’s zest for life and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy in creating, were unparalleled and leaves us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did. We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Alley’s ex-husband, actor Parker Stevenson, wrote: “I am so grateful for our years together, and for the two incredibly beautiful children and now grandchildren we have. You will be missed.”

“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of Cheers,” Ted Danson, who played Sam Malone opposite Alley in Cheers, told Deadline. “There was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was really brilliant in it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both touching and hilarious. She made me laugh 30 years ago when she filmed that scene, and she makes me laugh just as hard today. When I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I’m going to miss her.”

Kelsey Grammer, who played Frasier Crane on Cheers, said, “I’ve always thought that grieving a public figure is a private matter, but I will say that I loved her.”

John Travolta, Alley’s Look Who’s Talking co-star, also paid tribute. “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie,” he wrote. “I know we will see each other again.”

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Born in Kansas in 1951, Alley’s breakthrough came in 1987 when she joined the cast of the sitcom Cheers, playing the bar’s new manager Rebecca Howe. Alley was cast after Shelley Long decided to leave the show, leaving creators Glen and Les Charles to find a new female lead. The Charles brothers wanted to find an unknown and eventually cast Alley after Carl Reiner personally vouched for her comedic skills, having directed her in the 1987 film Summer School. Alley would win a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her performance on the show .

She won a second Emmy in 1994 for her performance as the mother of an autistic child in the made-for-TV movie David’s Mother.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Alley appeared in films including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Summer School, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry and Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking Too. On television, she played mainly comedic roles after Cheers, including the titular character in Veronica’s Closet, the short-lived sitcom Kirstie and the horror-comedy anthology series Scream Queens.

Alley (third from right), pictured with the rest of the cast of Cheers. Photo: Paramount TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

In the early 2000s, amid extensive gossip outlet coverage of her weight, Alley created and starred in the show Fat Actress, playing a fictionalized version of herself, as a fat actress trying to find success in Hollywood while fending off prey tabloids and tried to find love.

Later in life, Alley entered reality television, documenting her efforts to lose 75 pounds (34 kg) on ​​the reality show Kirstie Alley’s Big Life, competing on Dancing with the Stars, Britain’s Celebrity Big Brother and The Masked Singer.

In 1970, Alley married her high school sweetheart Bob Alley, who had the same name as her father; they divorced in 1977. In 1983 she married Stevenson and they adopted their two children. They divorced in 1997.

Alley became a Scientologist in 1979 while struggling with a cocaine addiction, and later credited the church’s drug treatment program for her sobriety.

Alley, a vocal supporter of former US President Donald Trump since 2016, claimed she had been “blackballed” in Hollywood because of her politics, saying: “You can cook and sleep with whores, but as long as you apparently did it” not voting for Trump … I feel like I’m a bit in The Twilight Zone.”

Her Scream Queens co-star Jamie Lee Curtis called her “a great cartoon foil” and “a beautiful mama bear”. “We agreed to disagree on some things, but had a mutual respect and connection,” she added. “Sad news.”

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